School may be out for the summer, but several candidates for the Sunshine Coast School District No. 46 board have declared they’re in for the election this coming fall.
Following trustee Sue Girard’s announcement on Friday, Aug. 12, two more incumbents have followed suit.
Samantha Haines told Coast Reporter via email, “It has been a privilege to represent the communities of Pender Harbour, Halfmoon Bay and Egmont over the last 4 years. It is with great pleasure that I announce that I will be seeking re-election this fall so that I can continue to provide a strong voice for the students and families on the Sunshine Coast. I am proud of the work we have done in the last term, and I am looking forward to another term at School District 46.”
Haines currently represents Area 1, the upper Sunshine Coast. She was acclaimed to that position in 2018.
Stacia Leech announced her candidacy on Aug. 15. In a press release, the incumbent confirmed she will be running to continue to represent Area 3, the lower Sunshine Coast. On top of serving as a trustee since 2018, Leech has also been the vice chair for two years of her four-year term.
“The past four years as a trustee on the Board of Education has been a growing, learning, wonderful experience. It was an opportunity to work collaboratively as a team, continually focused on improving student achievement — and we have come so far despite this decade’s most uncertain times.
"My experience on the board reinforced my belief that public education is one of the key elements of a strong, well-functioning democracy. I am enthusiastic to continue this work for the next four years with all the SD46 staff and partners committed to student success.”
Leech was elected with more than 50 per cent of the vote — 2,177 — votes, in the last election.
Then, Pammila Ruth joined the fray. Ruth was the only incumbent in 2018, when she was voted in for her second term by 2,207 votes.
In an email, Ruth said, "I am excited to announce that I’ll be seeking re-election for a third term as an SD46 school trustee in the Lower Coast, Area 3. Over the last eight years, I served our schools and community in this governance role. I'm keen to use the skills I gained as trustee, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Board to enhance student learning; And to offer that experience for the next SD 46 Board Strategic Planning, ensuring a balanced budget and advocating for Student Voice.
"Having worked with eight student trustees over my two terms I'm enthusiastic to continue that mentoring with the next student trustee. And to continue to serve my board and district as the trustee representative for BC Public School Association (BCPSEA) which includes bargaining, and the BC School Trustee Association (BCSTA) Professional Learning Committee," she wrote.
“How can we govern an organization focused on student learning, if we don’t listen to what those students have to say?”
In a May blog post, board chair and Area 2 (Central) trustee Amanda Amaral shared that she seeks re-election this fall. So far, that means five of the seven-person board members have put their names forward.
Coast Reporter encourages candidates for the upcoming local government elections to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Efforts will be made to keep the community informed on those who are considering letting their names stand as elected representatives for our communities.